- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 17, 2007

Congressional Democrats are considering curbs on 527s, those shadowy soft-money groups that inundated the radio and television airwaves with propaganda ads during the last few election cycles.

Wonder why Democrats want to place curbs on organizations such as ultra-progressive-liberal 527s MoveOn.org and America Coming Together? The answer is that the 527 political playing field is starting to level, and liberals know they always get slaughtered in a fair and factual fight.

These 527 groups, named after a section of the Internal Revenue Service code that addresses organizations established to influence elections, are not regulated by the Federal Election Commission nor subject to the same contribution limits as Political Action Committees. These groups circumvent any campaign finance reforms and deal in the unregulated funding of ideologically driven nongovernmental political organizations.

Groups such as MoveOn.org, America Coming Together, the Media Fund and Emily’s List raised a combined $158.2 million for the 2004 election cycle. By comparison, conservative-leaning 527 groups like Progress for America, the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and the Club for Growth raised $85.6 million.

But, an examination of each side’s biggest 527 benefactors of 2004 with regard to the 2006 nonpresidential election cycle presented quite a different story. America Coming Together raised about $4.5 million while the conservative group Progress for America raised some $6.2 million.

The Republicans figured out the Democratic game plan on exploiting the fund-raising abilities of 527 groups and are starting to beat them at their own game, and Democrats simply cannot have that.

The answer for Democrats now is to put limits on 527 soft-money, something they can now do legislatively thanks to the many conservatives who opted to “protest vote” last November.

The politicos of the liberal left have completely sucked the marrow from the bone, rendering it useless for anyone else; corrupting what should have been a legitimate avenue for groups of concerned Americans to champion important causes. Now they are actively looking for ways to keep detractors from getting benefits from it they already have reaped.

This politically opportune behavior is reprehensible enough but apparently, just when you think it can’t get any worse it can.

Illinois’ senator, Dick Durbin, is to introduce legislation, alongside similar legislation by Massachusetts Rep. John Tierney, to provide public funding for qualifying candidates.

The idea that the political left in this country would render ineffective publicly funded political organizations where the American citizenry gets to choose whether to contribute in deference to a mandated use of taxpayer money for funding political campaigns is a testimony to the limits of their entitlement tyranny. Democrats again are advancing their belief it is better for government to choose for the people rather than afford the people a choice.

Not only is extracting monies from the taxpayer base for political purposes literally forced participation in the political process, logic mandates that if taxpayer money is distributed equitably among all the candidates, all taxpayers are subsidizing candidates they would ultimately vote against.

While proponents of a taxpayer-funded political campaign system may insist it affords each prospective candidate a fair shot, being fairly considered for office is what the signature threshold for nominating petitions is all about. After that, if a candidate can’t raise enough cash to compete, most likely his message isn’t good or his communications are deficient.

Skeptics may say taxpayer-funded campaigns circumvent big business from dominating fund-raising. But big business and big union PAC contributions balance each other.

One day, Democrats will come to understand that government is infinitely more important than opportunistic politics. Government is supposed to safeguard our freedoms and liberties, not manipulate the political system for power while extorting funds from the masses for political purposes.

FRANK SALVATO

Managing editor for The New Media Journal. He serves at the Executive Director of the Basics Project, a non-profit, non-partisan, 501(C)(3) research and education initiative.

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